The EU pension savings gap persists, with more than a third of respondents not saving for their retirement, according to the results of Insurance Europe’s second Pan-European Pension Survey.
Following a first survey in 2019, Insurance Europe again asked European citizens for their views, this time interviewing over 16 000 people in 16 countries.
Other key results include:
- Of those not saving for their retirement, 30% said it was because they could not afford to.
- Almost a fifth of respondents said COVID-19 had a negative impact on their pension savings.
- The security (49%) of retirement savings remains by far the most important priority.
- Pension savers confirmed a preference to receive information digitally, rather than on paper.
- In all surveyed areas, there are significant differences between countries.
- Likewise, in line with the 2019 survey, responses differ depending on personal circumstances such as age, gender, marital status, level of education and employment.
Insurers, as major providers of pension products, are keen to work with policymakers to tackle the persistent EU pension savings gap. Against a background in which the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the existing pension gap still further, Insurance Europe makes the following recommendations:
- It is vital to further raise awareness of the need to save for retirement and to improve levels of financial literacy so that individuals can make the most appropriate decisions for their own circumstances. Insurance Europe supports the recent EU focus on digital pension information and welcomes the discussions taking place in the context of the EU Capital Markets Union on the role of pension tracking services.
- The survey confirms the need for pension policies to be consumer-centric, based on evidence of users’ demands and needs, so any initiative should always be subject to extensive consumer testing.
- There is a clear appetite for the protection offered by the financial guarantees, annuities and biometric coverage traditionally offered by insurers. It is crucial that regulation, and in particular the Solvency II prudential framework, does not prevent insurers from fulfilling their important role in tackling the pension savings gap.
- Europeans overwhelmingly support a digital approach to pension information. It is important that regulation allows providers to engage in innovative ways with their customers.
- The survey confirmed the diversity inherent in retirement saving across Europe. Pensions come in a variety of forms and are influenced by a broad range of factors. As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackle all the challenges.
Nicolas Jeanmart, head of personal and general insurance at Insurance Europe, said: “As the results of this survey confirm, policymakers throughout Europe already face significant challenges in trying to ensure their citizens have an adequate income in retirement. If nothing is done, these challenges will only become more severe. It is therefore vital for policymakers to take steps now to enable their citizens to increase their pension savings, and to ensure that the regulatory framework allows insurers to play their role as long-term pensions providers and reflects the real needs of people saving for retirement.”
The results of Insurance Europe’s second Pan-European Pension Survey will be discussed during a special webinar at 15:30 today, which is part of European Retirement Week. You can register here.